How to Interpret Skincare Labels and Choose Good Personal Care Products

As a long time sufferer of acne and dermatitis, I was surprised and ecstatic when my skin cleared up after cleaning up my diet.

In the words of Dr Libby Weaver, Beauty really is an inside job! …and Feeding your skin from within can make such a huge difference to the health and appearance of your hair, skin and nails.

And from there, it wasn’t a big leap for me to then clean up my skincare routine. If I’m choosing to eat really high quality, organic, paleo-type foods, why would I then want to wash, spray or moisturise my body with chemicals …right?

So I started scrutinising my skincare products. Those same things we look for in our food, we should be looking for in our skincare. So, I’m going to share with you my list of guidelines for helping you to choose good personal care products.

#1 Check the ingredient labels the way you would food

Go for products that have a shorter ingredient list over longer. Simple is good and less is more.

Ingredients are listed in order of highest quantity to lowest quantity (just like food)
In skincare products, generally the first ⅓ of ingredients on the label account for up to 95% of the contents of the product. Most of them contain water or aqua as their first ingredient, which is a big filler ingredient, that alone can account for 50-80% of the product, so definitely scrutinise that first 1/3 of the ingredients list.


#2 Go for products that have mostly natural ingredients that are minimally processed

But be aware that “Natural” can be a fairly loose term.

Look out for the words “derived from a natural substance” on the label,  this usually indicates ingredient has been processed, refined or interferred with in some way. This is what’s known as green washing in the industry. For example sodium lauryl sulphate (derived from coconut) is made by adding sulphuric acid to coconut…not fantastic


#3 Go for products with high quality ingredients that are organic where possible ….ingredients with names you recognise

Personal care products that are “safe enough to eat” are good …but they also need to do the job they’re intended to do!

So you might have to choose where you compromise, whether its performance (or how you feel about the performance) ….or chemical exposure.
You need to weigh it up. Without chemical detergents, a natural body wash won’t lather up as much (thats a good thing, by the way, because your skin won’t be as dry afterwards)

But because that lather is what you’re used to, it might leave you feeling like your body wash isn’t doing the job of cleaning you as well. And remember you definitely, definitely don’t want to have that tight, squeaky clean feeling after showering …so it might take a bit of adapting.

If you are going to take a walk on the chemical side, look out for some of the milder, plant based detergents like yucca extract or polyglucose. Or better yet try showering with just water and a microfibre cloth or a product like the one I’ll be introducing in the next video and blog post.


Now, hopefully that gives you somewhere to start when assessing the personal care products you already have in your bathroom or shower and what to look for when you’re buying new products.

#1  A nice short ingredient list, with

#2  Mostly natural ingredients that are minimally processed, and that

#3  Are of a high quality, organic and have ingredient names you can recognise


Once you do start scrutinising your skincare products, you’ll quickly realise that finding safe products that do the job well can be a challenge!

And for myself, I found that very few products really came up to scratch as far as I was concerned.
Which is what led me to create Ecology Skincare in the first place and to look into other cleansing options.

In the next video and blog post we’ll talk about how to preserve our bodies natural protective barrier, the very intriguingly named acid mantle and I’ll introduce you to a cleansing product that fits all of the guidelines I’ve just mentioned, doesn’t contain processed chemicals and won’t disrupt your skin’s natural functionality or dry it out.

It’s our Ecology Body Konjac Sponge!

Ecology Konjac Sponges

In the meantime, we would love to hear from you!

Please feel free to share your experiences and ask us questions in the comments below

Wishing you silky smooth skin!





  • Healthy Home, Healthy Family by Nicole Bijlsma
  • Beauty from the Inside Out by Dr Libby Weaver


One thought on “How to Interpret Skincare Labels and Choose Good Personal Care Products

  1. Pingback: TPS #76: Low-Tox Skincare: Which Dirty Dozen Chemicals to Avoid in your Personal Care Products | The Primal Shift

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